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The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a development contract for the company’s newly designed 57 mm guided high-explosive ammunition, the company announced on 4 October 2023.

The new round is designated for use with the Mk110 Naval Gun Mount developed by BAE Systems Bofors, which is currently fitted to US Navy Littoral Combat Ships and US Coast Guard cutters.

Under its development contract, the value of which Northrop Grumman did not disclose, the company will test and mature the munition for qualification.

The 57 mm guided high-explosive ammunition has the ability to continuously manoeuvre in flight as it nears a designated target. Designed to defend against fast-moving surface threats, unmanned aerial vehicles and swarming threats, the guided 57 mm ammunition features an onboard seeker to acquire moving targets and a fuze with the ability to self-select for either proximity or point-detonation mode to best engage and defeat the intended target.

Northrop Grumman is developing a new 57 mm guided high-explosive round for use with the Mk110 Naval Gun Mount. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

“Our new 57 mm guided ammunition is truly innovative in its ability to identify, track and guide itself to a target,” Dave Fine, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for armament systems, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “The navy will gain a greater capability to defend against moving threats and a new level of accuracy to defeat them.”

As the newest addition to Northrop Grumman’s advanced ammunition portfolio, the new 57 mm round leverages the company’s expertise in guided munitions. Using seekers and an aft-manoeuvre system, the round provides continuous trajectory guidance no matter how often the target may pivot.

“This new guided ammunition will give the navy greater stand-off range and a cost-effective solution against small, fast-moving threats, without any weapon system modifications,” Northrop Grumman stated.